Zika Virus

Once harmless, the Zika virus became lethal after a single genetic mutation took hold around 2013

Once harmless, the Zika virus became lethal after a single genetic mutation took hold around 2013

When the Zika virus was first isolated from a Ugandan forest monkey in 1947 and found in mildly ill humans a few years later, it was hardly worth a mention in the annals of human disease.

What a difference a mutation can make.

In a new round of genetic sleuthing, Chinese researchers have pinpointed the single genetic change that has made the Zika virus a fearsome plague to pregnant women and their babies across the Americas, responsible for thousands of cases of microcephaly and other grievous brain abnormalities that sometimes result in death.

The Chinese researchers also came close to pinpointing the time at which the Zika virus graduated from unwelcome pest status...

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